Thursday 3 March 2016

An Interview with T.ROY from SOURVEIN

Today I'm interviewing one of the legendary musicians of the Sludge/Doom Metal scene. For 23 years he's been the main driving force behind Sourvien. Sourvein have released an incredible amount of music and heavy riffs since their inception in 1993.

Critically acclaimed albums, EPs and split releases and fearsome live performances has seen Sourvein build up a great fanbase within the Sludge/Doom Metal community.

It's hard to believe that Sourvein will be releasing their 4th album overall with Aquatic Occult. The album will be released via Metal Blade Records from April 7th 2016. Trust me when I say this is perhaps Sourvein's finest work to date. A stunning and heavy as hell album that will rank as one of the year's best albums.

To give us a greater insight into the new album and all things Sourvein, here is my interview with – T.Roy

Hi T-Roy. How are things with you today? Thanks for doing this interview. Congrats on the new album – Aquatic Occult. That is one hell of a record. What can people expect from the record.

Thanks a lot....its a good record I believe .... I think they can expect to see the music evolve and hear new things that expend our sound .but at the same time staying true to our roots. My goal was for you to feel it as well as hear it and try some new tricks . I put my heart into it. As did mike dean and the others. So I hope some people can relate to it. And maybe it can be someone's favourite album.

Congrats on also signing to Metal Blade Records. Seems like the perfect fit for Sourvein to be signed to that great label.

Yeah thanks. We are so stoked to with Metal Blade Records. Everyone at the label is awesome and have been really great to work with and breath of fresh air for us. I am looking forward to doing a follow up to Aquatic occult next year. I already have songs for it. I think its the perfect place for us to be and I hope stay here for a long time.

Photo by Noelle Rose

It seems this album has been a long time coming. I know you've been through quite the journey with making this album. Has this been the hardest album you've made so far.

In some ways yes and others no. It was a hard 3 hour commute to the studio .and midway through I lost my job due to the recording schedule. My car broke down as well at the same time. So towards the end we were taking greyhound bus and catching rides from friends. Eating crackers and sleeping in front of the amps. When we couldn't afford the cheap motel down the road just to keep making it happen.

This was happening during the recording and vocal sessions. So the struggle is there, the voice in the music but in a rise above and live to win kinda of way not a screw everything kinda way. HA. I think the struggle added an edge to it. Pushing through any set backs and going for it but nothing good comes easy. But it was a awesome experience overall. I learned a lot on this one to apply to the next one.

I love how the album is quite bleak at times but at the end of it all, it leaves you in a positive frame of mind. Was that one of your aims recording the album. Showing how bleak life can be but how also you can survive from it all.

Yeah in a way its about overcoming and seeing things in a positive light and the music kinda felt that way on its own. It came out that way. It's moving forward on a different path in a lot ways and just following the heart

You're the only sole original member of Sourvein since it's started. Looking back would you preferred to have a stable line-up. Or do you work better and harder with a different set of musicians with each Sourvein release.

Well the original line up lasted 8 years. Then we replaced guitarist and went another 5 years .But I knew the first month we wouldn't be like U2. The same four people forever at the same time. I knew that wasn't gonna stop me !!!!

This was my baby and dream from day one, its all I wanted to do. Others wanted to have other jobs and things they wanted to do. So I did what I had to do, I kept it moving. I have some stable guys like Lou and others that been with me off and on and then come back in.

But yeah I like working with different people as well. It brings something new to the sound like Reed Mullin did on this one on drums. He kills it. He added a bunch of dynamics that we never had before. I just wanna rock with others who feel the same way and not everyone can keep up with the schedule. Travelling and touring full time. Its hard.

Some other guys I just gave a opportunity to play on a session or do a tour filling in playing live and seeing the world and then return to their own bands after the tours and do their thing. I been happy to be able to give that opportunity to folks at different times who may not have got to do that in there own bands I really have to thank them for helping us out as well. Keepin things rolling.

It's like a heavy rock commune in a way in a way no doors are closed people can come in and out here and there. HA HA. No different than Queens Of The Stone Age, The Melvins, Howling Wolf and others I guess but the show must go on. And I am going to do what I do no matter what. I hope to continue to bring opportunities to different musicians. For different things while keepin the core line up rocking.

Mike Dean has produced your new album. How did you get Mike Dean involved and what does he bring to the Sourvein sound.

Yeah Mike Dean produced it. I've known Mike Dean for awhile, first tour I did as a roadie for the original Buzzov-en's to a frown tour in early 93. Mike's band Spore later called “ninefinger"was on the tour as well. So we had met way back and I ran back into him when my side band opened for COC in 2012. He mentioned he would be down to work with me. When it was time to record again. I took him up on it. Right off the bat I called him and he was awesome to work with cause he knows recording from basement demo tapes to big studios such as Studio 606 (Dave from Nirvana's studio) and everything in-between he's done it. And Mike is also very hands on as he got right in the trenches with us. He's s a hard worker and he cares about the music. He pushed me and the band to do our best. It was a good experience and he did a great job.

Why did you decide to call the album Aquatic Occult. Any particular meaning to you as such. Awesome title for the record.

Yeah, I am from an island, its an abstract way of saying water/ocean is mysterious to me. I write in a word play kinda way so I like to bring words together. The ocean is the heavy place and mysterious place. And that's what Aquatic Occult is to me.

The album cover for Aquatic Occult is amazing. That is perhaps my fave cover for any of your records so far. Captures the mood of the entire album. Who designed the cover and how much input did you have into the overall design of it.

It's done by Jordan Barlow of the band Ritual Killer from NOLA. He did the last High On Fire record art among many others. He's an old friend and gifted artist and great tattooist in New Orleans. He did the front and back cover and the fold out. He just killed it. I can't thank him enough. He will be doing the next one as well for sure.

I am hands on and have a vision. I drew the rough ideas for the cover and Jordan took my sketches and ideas and went from there He made it awesome and added the elements I wanted in there. His style is just amazing. I took the pictures myself and worked with our friend Bill Kole who laid it out with me and did a great job with the whole package. I really love it and it's perfect.

Will you be touring this record heavily. Or will it be a few select dates here and there.

We will hit Europe first and then a run on the West Coast. So we will touring, just spacing it out a bit around the work schedule. Also looking into linking up as support to another band. Love to tour with Witchcraft. And yeah we are looking into doing a lot of fests and one-offs. So promoters get in touch. we are taking offers.

Photo by Noelle Rose

How hard is it being a band in today's world? What are the most difficult aspects in being in a band?

Hard as it ever was really. It's the money, it's hard to do home life and tours. It's hard to have the money to get it all going outta pocket and pay the bills at home. It's not as easy as it use to be to find extra work before or after a tour. So I have to save up to do a tour. And it's hard sometimes. I cant do it like I use to and just live on the road. Though I can do what I can.

What inspired you to become a musician? Any particular album, band or life-changing event that told you – Yeah, that's what I want to do....

There are many. KISS as a kid got me rocking in the 2nd grade. Then everything from Blondie to Gap Band to Elvis to Run DMC. The Bad Brains and HR is a big influence. Black Flag with Keith Morris. Lemmy, early Motorhead. Ozzy with Sabbath. Even Peter Tosh.

After my first show after skateboarding all day with local punk band ALL TORE UP at 15. After seeing it live, I knew I could do it too. Then I saw The Ramones at 17 and I knew I wanted to ROCK IT LOUD AND POWERFUL. Just what I was looking for, so I went for it full on. To do what these bands were doing. It's taken me around the world a few times now. But I still fill the impact those records and early shows had on me. Actually I was able to get the singer from that first local show Dave Capps from the band ALL TORE UP to do guest vocals on the song Capsized. That was full circle and awesome to give my respect to the guy that showed me it was possible as a teenager locally.

What inspires you when writing your lyrics or music.

Life and reality really but pain and joy. Different emotions It depends, it's all from real situations. I may play on words and have abstract lyrics. But it's all real to what's going on in life or around me or something that's inspired me. Riffs come during times I least expect them and things come to me outta the blue sometimes. I am always trying to write something I like to create.

You've probably seen it all being involved with Sourvein over the last 23 years. Looking back and if you could would you change anything about your musical experiences. Good or Bad.

Yeah I've seen a lot and done tons of tours. Something every year since 94. Sure I'd change some things over the past and through the years here and there if I could. I am older and wiser now with a different outlook. Looking back sure I'd change things like I would take back every-time my van broke down for instant. HA, but you cant change a thing so its all kinda part of the journey.

I kinda never look back at bad times touring too much its part of it ups and downs. Its about the good times to me. It's about moving forward to the new things and looking ahead and learning from any mistakes and making sure you don't let happen again. But overall it been good and I look to the future and hope to keep creating music and travelling to play live.

Before you go, do you have anything to say to your fans?

Thanks for the years of support. Really thanks to any one who has helped the band in anyway ever.!!!!

Thanks to musicians I've worked with over the years. Please order the new record and new merch so we can continue to tour. I really hope everyone likes it. And thanks to Metal Blade Records for everything. See you on the road.

Cheers T.Roy – Sourvein

Words by Steve Howe and T.Roy

Thanks to Andy at Metal Blade Records for arranging this interview. Thanks for T.Roy for taking the time out in doing this amazing interview.

Aquatic Occult will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Metal Blade Records from April 7th 2016.